The Current

Health Canada warns surgery using a morcellator could spread undetected cancer, Amy Reed & her husband are fighting to stop the practice

Not long ago, only surgeons and their patients would have heard of a morcellator. But now lawyers have become involved in a big way, following efforts to declare the devices dangerous.Considered by many Gynecological surgeons to be a useful procedure to minimize the risks of certain surgeries, morcellation is seen by others to be a cause of risk, especially for...
Dr. Amy Reed knew she had fibroids but they never bothered her until she delivered her 6th child. Her symptoms led to the need for a hysterectomy and her doctor recommended a minimally invasive surgery which involved morcellation. A week after the surgery she was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma. Morcellation does not cause the aggressive cancer but it risks spreading it and shortens life expectancy.

>> Update to this story: In 2014, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and Health Canada put a warning on morcellators to discourage their use. But, they are still used today.

Amy Reed died on May 24, in her home in Yardley, PA. She was 44.


Not long ago, only surgeons and their patients would have heard of a morcellator.

But now lawyers have become involved in a big way, following efforts to declare the devices dangerous.Considered by many Gynecological surgeons to be a useful procedure to minimize the risks of certain surgeries, morcellation is seen by others to be a cause of risk, especially for women with an undetected cancer.

Dr. Amy Reed and her husband Dr. Hooman Noorchashm lobbied to stop the use of the morcellation. In 2014, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and Health Canada put a warning on morcellators to discourage their use. But, they are still used today.

The power morcellator is an unfamiliar surgical tool to many Canadians, however for many gynecologists it is considered a very useful device -- one designed to allow them to do certain surgeries, using very small incisions rather than invasive surgery. But about six months ago,

Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of a possible risk: Morcellators could spread undetected cancer.

In the U.S, the FDA held a hearing on the morcellator this past summer. Conclusions are expected soon. Some hope it will lead to a complete ban on the instrument. In the meantime, some doctors continue to use it.

Leeann Noye, 45, in Langley, B.C. had laproscopic surgery to remove fibroids. The recovery was quick and two weeks later at a routine follow-up, a report showed morcellation was used in the surgery and that Leeann had a rare cancer, with no treatment.

Do you have experience with this surgery? Send us your thoughts.

The documentary, A Divisive Device was produced by freelance  journalist Alison Motluk and The Current's documentary editor Joan Webber.